The Safari took the opportunity to go back to Singleton church, taking CR with us, a couple of days ago. Once again it was a bit of a wait in the hot sun before we got our first glimpse of one of the Purple Hairstreaks. It was several minutes more before one would show well enough to point the cameras at it and even then it led us a merry dance by flying over our heads and landing on the Turkey Oak a few yards away in the new grave yard.
This one is a different individual to the first one as it still has its tails. Both of them were drinking honeydew from the surface of the leaves. We also saw but weren't able to photograph one female laying eggs quite low down in the canopy so we're pretty confident they'll be there next year.
Our sightings dried up as the butterflies hid at the top of their tree so we left but as we went through the church yard gate a dragonfly caught our eye in the new Peace Garden. It was chaser and kept returning to the dame dried up stalk albeit against the light from where we came through the gate. when it turned its back it revealed itself as a male Broad Bodied Chaser and a battered one coming to the end of its time a that.
After on of its forays we noticed that it was scoffing a fairly large insect but we were unable to identify what it might have been. Quite substantial whatever it was, certainly not a midge or a greenfly.
A pretty good couple of hours out.
This weekend say the launch of the annual Big Butterfly Count, an easy to join in Citizen Science project which helps monitor the state of the country's mid-summer butterfly populations.
We did two 15 minute counts this morning down on Patch 1 across the two fields behind the Rock Gardens. The rougher of the two fields had the better count, 15 Gatekeepers, 3 Small Whites, 4 Speckled Woods, 26 Meadow Browns, 4 Common Blues, a Small Skipper and a Silver Y moth, they're on the recording sheet. Not at all bad for just walking down one and a bit edges of the field. A bit of sun breaking through the heavy cloud might well have brought out a fair few more. We might have expected more skippers but the recent hot weather might have seen them finish their flight season earlier than normal.
The other field has fewer flowers and fewer species of longer grass and is also smaller, as it took less time to get round we did a few minutes in the 'Butterfly Zone' at the side of the park which was quite productive but alas no White Letter Hairstreaks, the hot weather perhaps finishing them off early like the skippers although they are still on the wing in a few localities across the Fylde. And strangely none of the larger, colourful wider-countryside species like Red Admiral, Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell or Comma - where were they - - waiting for the sun to come out probably!
If that's what we didn't see what did we see? Well here goes; 9 Meadow Browns, 3 Gatekeepers, no fewer than 5 Small Coppers, 3 Common Blues, 2 Green Veined Whites, a Small White and 2 Silver Y moths. Totaling up that makes 71 individuals, half of which were Meadow Browns, of 9 species - not bad for a dull morning...and better still despite the muggy, humid conditions not a Clegg in sight - we did have our 200% DEET spray to fend off the little horrors but it wasn't needed thankfully.
|Green Veined White|
|Small Copper - hiding|
Back at Base camp the moth trap has continued to produce small but varied catches. A lovely Garden Pebble was New for the Garden yesterday, a large 'micro' moth bigger than some 'macro' moths - unfortunately it evaded the lens....grrrr, so here's a linkWhat hasn't managed to evade the lens is below...
|Lesser and/or Common Rustic|
|Rosy Rustic - another New for the Garden|
|Shuttle Shaped Dart|
Where to next? We have another trip lined up with CR later in the week and hopefully the moth trap will produce some interest - once we've dried it out after last night's unexpected downpours...will the electrics still work???
In the meantime let us know who's buzzing around the churchyards in your outback